Maryland could generate electricity from ... chicken waste
- CleanBay Renewables is seeking to construct an anaerobic digestion facility in Sussex County, DE, as reported by Delmarva Now. The location would be purposed to process chicken litter into methane.
- The proposed facility would have a yearly capacity of 90,000 tons and produce around 9.6 MW of energy from AD, Andy Hallmark, a spokesman for CleanBay, told Waste Dive.
- The proposed facility is going before Sussex County Planning and Zoning for a hearing Thursday night. Hallmark said the company has already addressed concerns over traffic that caused them to withdraw a proposal over the summer. Hallmark said there was "a lot of support for the project in general," and thought the company was going to have a "good week." Additionally, CleanBay is currently constructing a facility in Westover, MD, slated for completion in the later half of 2019.
CleanBay's projects both proposed and under construction are strong examples of choosing the right waste processing method for the right geographic region. The Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware are hotspots for chicken farming, making the Delmarva peninsula a natural fit for AD.
Additionally, after being processed to create methane, the byproducts of chicken litter AD can be sold off to farmers. The process would remove phosphorus from the chicken litter, which could be sold and shipped to regions of the country that have nutrient-deficient soil.
Diverting some chicken litter from disposal and from farm fields not only creates energy — it also can help the region with a critical environmental issue. In Maryland and Delaware, chicken litter that is used as manure can sometimes oversaturate fields and runoff into the Chesapeake Bay, creating dead zones from a lack of oxygen.
CleanBay's plans also highlight how capital-intensive building new waste-to-energy infrastructure can be. Even with some funding from Maryland Department of Agriculture, Hallmark said each facility CleanBay wants to build will run around $50 million.
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